Posted by Dan to Packaging Products
Food safety and cost control were the top two manufacturing concerns for food and beverage manufacturers in a recent survey. Have you considered how better food packaging could help you address these concerns?
The right food packaging tools can help with quality control while reducing costs through increased efficiency and productivity.
Sealers and coding machines are two critical parts of your food packaging system. Learn more about these machines and what they can do for you.
Importance of Sealers and Coding Machines in the Food Packaging Industry
Sealers and coding machines are an essential part of your quality and safety control process. Sealers apply an airtight closure for many types of food packaging, like plastic bags and clam shells.
An airtight closure helps prevent perishable food from spoiling. It prevents the growth of microbes. It prevents contamination from dust, debris, insects, and other pests.
Coding machines print tracking, dates and identifying information on your packaging. This ensures batch traceability in the event of a recall.
Batch numbers protect the supply chain by helping identify counterfeit products. Best by and expiration dates help protect consumers and your brand.
Heat sealers use heat to seal plastic and other materials.
Several types of heat sealers are available. The main difference is in how the heating element works. You can find heat sealers that vacuum seal as well.
- Impulse Sealers
When the jaws close and an electrical pulse goes through the wire, the wire heats up. It reaches operating temperature in less than a second. The jaws maintain pressure for long enough to create the seal and let it cool.
- Double Impulse Sealers
Double impulse sealers are a type of impulse sealer. They have a heating element on the upper and lower jaw. This creates a faster and stronger seal for materials that are thicker or hard to seal.
- Direct (Constant) Heat Sealers
A direct or constant heat sealer keeps constant heat in both jaws. Heat in both jaws gives direct heat sealers better heat penetration. They can seal thicker plastics and other materials.
- Vacuum Sealers
A vacuum sealer is a type of heat sealer. It draws air out of the bag before sealing it.
With an external vacuum sealer, the majority of the bag you want to seal stays outside the machine. You insert the edge of the packaging into the sealer. With a chamber vacuum sealer, you place the entire bag to be sealed inside the chamber.
Vacuum sealing increases shelf life and preserves the quality of the food longer. In addition, it reduces the total size of your packaging.
Hand, Foot, Auto, or Band Sealer
The type of sealing mechanism you should choose depends on the number of packages you need to seal and the operating speed you need. The size and cost of the machine generally increase with the speed and production capacity.
- Hand Sealers
Hand sealers are the simplest and most economical. You lower the sealing bar with your hand. Hand sealers can seal around 6-20 packages per minute.
- Foot-Operated Sealers
Controlling the sealing bar with a foot pedal leaves your hands free to lift or position the product. The sealing mechanism is faster than a hand sealer. You can seal around 8-20 packages per minute.
- Automatic Sealers
Automatic sealers are ideal for high production. You can seal around 20-50 packages per minute. You can set a time cycle for the sealer to open and close at defined intervals.
- Continuous Bag Sealers
Continuous bag sealers provide the fastest production speed. Bags feed into the sealer while resting on a conveyor belt. You can seal more than 5,000 packages a day.
Types of Coding Machines
Coding machines use computer-generated data to print information onto a product label or directly onto the packaging. They can print in a range of formats like letters, numbers, dates, and barcodes. A variety of factors differentiate the various types of coders.
- Handheld coders are best suited for smaller operations with limited automation. A handheld coder is semi-automatic. It applies codes automatically and is electronically driven. However, you have to feed and collect the products manually.
- In-line coders are a good solution for large-scale production. They apply data to products that move down an automated production line using a conveyor system. They can print on a timer or by using a sensor with no need for operator intervention.
Contact vs Non-Contact Printing
The printing mechanism for your coding machine can use contact or non-contact printing.
- A contact coding machine comes into direct contact with the surface of the product or packaging. Traditional rubber or metal stamps and thermal transfer overprinting are some examples.
- Thermal transfer overprinting will print variable data with very high print quality. It can accommodate a wide print area and various print colors.
- A non-contact coding machine doesn't physically touch the product surface. Inkjet and laser coders are the most common examples.
- Inkjet coding machines propel droplets of ink onto the surface you're printing on. Laser coding machines use a focused beam of energy to mark the surface. Laser coders are faster than inkjet, but they have a higher upfront cost.
Static vs Variable Coders
- Static coding machines will print a large volume of material that doesn't change. They can be a good choice if you need to print the same set of numbers on everything.
- Variable coders are generally a more popular choice. They can print different content without needing an adjustment. They can print a variety of data including serial numbers and bar codes.
- Continuous printing capability means that you don't need to stop the production line each time you print. Equipment that prints continuously as the line moves past significantly increases your productivity.
Finding the Best Sealers and Coding Machines
Quality sealers and coding machines are essential food packaging tools. You want the best machines at the most competitive prices.
Pack Secure has been a trusted supplier for sealers and coding machines for more than 20 years. We have an extensive inventory, and most orders ship out the same day. Our Customer Service and Tech Support teams are available before, during, and after your purchase.
Contact us today and let's find your sealing and coding solution.
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